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Research & Practice Spotlight


Conflict Cultures in Organizations: How Leaders Shape Conflict Cultures and Their Organizational-Level Consequences.

Anecdotal evidence abounds that organizations have distinct conflict cultures, or socially shared norms for how conflict should be managed. However, research to date has largely focused on conflict management styles at the individual and small group level, and has yet to examine whether organizations create socially shared and normative ways to manage conflict.

Location in negotiation: Is there a home field advantage?

Although location is considered to play an important role in negotiation potentially favoring one side over the other, little research has examined whether negotiating on one’s home field indeed confers an advantage to the resident party. We tested this possibility by experimentally manipulating participants’ occupancy status (resident versus neutral versus visitor). Across three studies, we find that residents of an office space outperform the visiting party in a distributive negotiation.

Cross-Cultural Difference in Reactions to Facework During Service Failures

When companies have service failures, they need to not only fix the actual problem but also to communicate with customers in ways that do not damage the relationship. This study examines whether people with different cultural orientations react differently to the communications that attack or support community-related face (positive face) versus autonomy-related face (negative face). We predicted, and found, that Westerners (Americans) react more strongly than Asians (Koreans and Indians) to autonomy-related facework.

Individual Differences in Third-Party Interventions: How Justice Sensitivity Shapes Altruistic Punishment

Altruistic punishment refers to the phenomenon that humans invest their own resources to redress norm violations without self-interest involved. We address the question of who will intervene in situations that allow for altruistic punishment. We suggest that individual differences in a genuine concern for justice, as reflected by the personality trait of justice sensitivity, determine the experience of moral emotions in the face of injustice, which in turn trigger altruistic punishment.

Negotiation as a form of persuasion: Arguments in first offers.

In this article we examined aspects of negotiation within a persuasion framework. Specifically, we investigated how the provision of arguments that justified the first offer in a negotiation affected the behavior of the parties, namely, how it influenced counteroffers and settlement prices. In a series of 4 experiments and 2 pilot studies, we demonstrated that when the generation of counterarguments was easy, negotiators who did not add arguments to their first offers achieved superior results compared with negotiators who used arguments to justify their first offer.

Not So Bad After All: How Relational Closeness Buffers the Association Between Relationship Conflict and Helpful and Deviant Group Behaviors

Past research has left unanswered the question of how to reduce the negative effects of relationship conflict in work groups. This study investigates whether relational closeness in work groups buffers the negative association between relationship conflict and two important group behaviors that are often overlooked in conflict research: group-level helping behavior and counterproductive work behavior.

Reaping the benefits of task conflict in teams: The critical role of team psychological safety climate.

Past research suggests that task conflict may improve team performance under certain conditions; however, we know little about these specific conditions. On the basis of prior theory and research on conflict in teams, we argue that a climate of psychological safety is one specific context under which task conflict will improve team performance. Using evidence from 117 project teams, the present research found that psychological safety climate moderates the relationship between task conflict and performance.

Mind Games: The Mental Representation of Conflict.

Perception and misperception play a pivotal role in conflict and negotiation. We introduce a framework that explains how people think about their outcome interdependence in conflict and negotiation and how their views shape their behavior. Seven studies show that people's mental representations of conflict are predictably constrained to a small set of possibilities with important behavioral and social consequences.

The Pursuit of Missing Information in Negotiation

A large body of research has focused on how people exchange and use information during the negotiation process. This work tends to treat information as if it all were readily available upon request. The current research investigated how delays in the pursuit of missing information can influence people’s ex-ante priorities and the final settlements they reach. Study 1 found that negotiators achieved more value on an issue after seeking missing information about that issue compared to when the same information was readily accessible.

The Influence of Conflict Issue Importance on the Co-occurrence of Task and Relationship Conflict in Teams

Task conflicts may be beneficial for team performance whereas relationship conflicts are associated with negative team outcomes. Because the two conflict types are typically correlated within teams, it is difficult to enhance task conflicts and simultaneously avoid relationship conflicts. This study examines how importance of the conflict issue moderates the association between task and relationship conflict. In addition, the hypothesis was tested that the interaction between task conflict and issue importance on relationship conflict is mediated by task conflict emotionality.